Abude Alasaad - UWCM 2013
My name is Abude Alasaad. I graduated from UWC Maastricht in 2013. Currently, I am a junior economics major at Skidmore College.
I come from a Palestinian refugees' camp on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria– a camp that is today controlled by ISIS terrorists. At the age of 16, I was awarded a full scholarship to study at UWC Maastricht, where I met a Jewish person for the first time in my life. Where I learned from teachers who sharpened the way I think. Where I met friends and roommates who became my second family. Where I learned that a disagreement does not necessarily need to become a conflict. Where I learned to respect the values of others, while still cherishing mine. Where I understood that universal human rights must transcend gender, race, and class. Where I learned that we are capable of accomplishing much more when we collaborate instead of compete. Where I learned that life is more than about just me.
I left home five years ago. And I have never returned since the chemical weapons of a tyrant government and the sharp knifes of radical terrorists are awaiting me. I missed my family in the past five years. A lot. But I also grew a lot. Today, I am gaining a world-class education at Skidmore College thanks to a Davis scholarship. I am spending a semester in Washington DC conducting research on political and economic reforms in the Middle East at the Council on Foreign Relations as a part of my domestic exchange program. And just last week, I was watching the State of Union with some of the finest minds in the world at the Brookings Institute’s think-tank cocktail party.
The generosity of UWC sponsors and Shelby Davis has not only saved my life from a certain death in Syria, and enabled me to gain a world-class education, but it has also taught me that when crisis appears at its darkest, humanity must shine at its brightest. This faith in me has given me a reason to get out of the bed every morning. Donor’s commitment to my growth has taught me that life is about giving as much as it is about receiving. That for every gift we earn, for every penny we make, for every fruit we harvest, we owe humanity much more.